Individuals are often unsure if what they are experiencing is sexual harassment. If you are unsure, make an appointment to see the Protected Disclosure Advisor.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, it is not your fault. Nothing you have done or could do entitles another person to harass you. There are many ways of dealing with sexual harassment and the Protected Disclosure Advisor can help you select the best method.
Start by documenting what is happening. Carefully write down the dates, times, locations and details of all incidents.
One way of dealing with a harassing situation is to tell the harasser what it is that you find offensive and ask that the behaviour stop. Sometimes sexual harassment is a matter of miscommunication and if the behaviour is unintentional, communicating your discomfort may be enough to stop it. Be specific about the behaviour in question. For example:
“I feel uncomfortable when you put your arm around my shoulder. Please stop.”
“I need to talk to you about the remarks you make on my personal appearance at departmental meetings. I find them inappropriate and I need to you stop.”
However, it may be difficult to confront someone directly with sexual harassment concerns, particularly in situations involving a power differential. Do not feel that you have to handle the situation yourself before approaching anyone else. If you feel uncomfortable directly approaching your harasser, make an appointment with the Protected Disclosure Advisor or talk to the Dean or Director or administrative equivalent of your unit.
For more information about institutional resources, please visit the Sexual Violence Support website.